Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance For Android

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We tested the Android version of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance running on Android with mobile hardware? This is something that we had to prove yes or yes. The brilliant Metal Gear spin-off developed by Platinum Games has been advertising for months on Nvidia’s Shield portal, with no indication of when it was going to be released. Now it is finally available, but unlike the rest of Nvidia ports, which work on the entire range of Tegra hardware, Rising only works on the Shield TV microconsole and also requires a traditional remote.

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This conversion has both good and bad points. Starting with the positive, Nvidia has managed to include all the content of the original game in a download of just 4GB, and that despite the fact that the video sequences have a visual quality far superior to the murky coding that they looked like on Xbox 360. Based on First impressions, this version of Metal Gear Rising seems to be very similar in visual terms; We have played it alongside the Xbox 360 and apart from a more pronounced gamma on the Microsoft console (possibly RGB vs rec.709), graphically they are almost identical.

The resolution of the new port appears to be the same as on previous generation consoles as well, which is surprising when you consider that the Shield’s technology, the Tegra X1 chip, is based on moving parts but has a significantly more powerful GPU than the Xenos from the Xbox 360. We have seen previously how mobile ports tend to underperform previous generation consoles, but there have been notable exceptions: Doom 3 BFG Edition in particular runs at perfect 1080p60 on the Shield TV, an improvement considerable compared to the 720p60 of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which also had very evident drops.

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The biggest disappointment, however, is precisely in the performance: the Shield TV does not hold the same as the versions for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Metal Gear Rising is a game designed to be played at 60FPS, and although both 360 and PS3 had performance drops, both versions are much superior in this regard to the Shield. Frame-rate is often around 30FPS, and the only time performance is roughly the same is during tutorials.

Revengeance operates on Android with a clear disadvantage at the frame-rate level, but really the problem is in the frame-time variations, which can vary between 16ms, 33ms, 50ms or even more at any time, which implies that there are little consistency in the overall experience. This leaves the feeling that the game is running at a lower performance than it actually has, and also explains why only Shield TV users have access to this port, because the less powerful Tegra K1 on tablets could not move the game well.

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In favor of Nvidia it must be said that they have been financing ports for Android of quite a category; Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Resident Evil 5 are on the way, and we have also seen a preview version of Crysis 3. Still, it is clear that the conversion process is not easy, even with the impressive power of the Tegra X1. The team in charge of the conversions has access to all the original material – presumably the existing ports for PC and Mac – but there is an overhead problem. If this is due to problems inherent to the port or to the process of transferring from DirectX to OpenGL (the Mac version used the Cider wrapper for this) it is something that we do not know, but it highlights that the convergence between desktop and mobile computers that we have been looking for for time is still a long way off, especially as long as DirectX is the dominant technology.

Still, revisiting this game to write this article has been a pleasure. Revengeance is almost three years old now, but it holds the type perfectly and may actually be one of our favorite Platinum games without a problem. Maybe it’s time to play it again on PC …